Last July 9-12, 2019, the Mindanao State University-Tawi-Tawi College on Technology and Oceanography (MSU-TCTO) in Bongao hosted the “6th Round table Discussion on Islamic Studies” organized by the Research Association for Islamic Social Sciences, Inc., (RAIS) and the Institute of Islamic Studies (IIS) at UP Diliman. The RTD focused on “Islamic Economics – Theory and Practice,” a growing subject of importance to Islamic Studies discipline. The participants came from the different units which offered Islamic Studies in Mindanao and belonged to the Islamic Studies Network organized by RAIS.
Day 1 (July 9, 2019) of the RTD began with a visit to the Sheikh Makhdum Mosque, notably known as the first mosque in the Philippines located at Simunul municipality. The island can be reached by a local motorboat known as lepa and the travel lasts at least 45 minutes.
Upon arrival, the group was warmly welcomed by some municipal officials and local tourism guides who had provided transportation to the site and gave some information regarding the history of the mosque. A new mosque has been constructed complete with a separate upper room for women. Facilities for ablution have been provided. The tomb of the Sheikh is located nearby and fortunately had retained its original and natural look.
After visiting the mosque and the tomb, the group was brought to the reception area for refreshment where native delicacies were served. A short but lively discussion on the current situation of Simunul Island and the ways in which the different sites on the island can be developed for tourism was held. Many suggestions from the group were advanced which were accepted by the officials. One suggestion was to make a compilation of the information available to be uploaded onto the municipal official website for a wider readership. On the way back, a stopover on Sangay Siapuh, a small island located between Simunul and Bongao proper was made for a picnic lunch. The variety of seafood served delighted the group.
Day 2 (July 10, 2019), started with a prayer from Mufti Abdulwahid A. Inju, the Mufti (e.g. head of religious scholars) of Tawi-Tawi followed by the Opening Remarks given by Prof. Magsaysay S. Werble, the Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance of MSU-TCTO. Dr. Carmen A. Abubakar, RAIS President and former UP IIS Dean then gave the orientation of the RTD and a brief announcement and congratulation to the new appointed officials of the different colleges. The highlight of the Opening Day was the keynote address of MSU-TCTO Chancellor, Dr. Mary Joyce Z. Guinto-Sali, who recounted the many challenges present in the development of MSU-TCTO.
The lectures began with “The Basic Elements and Objectives of Islamic Education” delivered by Dr. Anshari P. Ali, the new Chancellor of MSU-General Santos City; followed by Prof. Julkipli M. Wadi, professor and former UP IIS Dean, who discussed the “Global Islamic Economics and Its Challenges.” The next lecture was given by Atty. Mehol K. Sadain, professorial lecturer, former UP IIS Dean and Secretary of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, on “Emerging Halal Industries in the Philippines: Halal Certification and Halal Tourism.”
The next presentation was made by Dr. Alzad T. Sattar, Member of Parliament, Bangsamoro Transition Administration, BARMM, “From ARMM to BARMM: Madrasah Education in the Philippines”; followed by Dr. Nefertari A. Arsad, UP IIS College Secretary, on “Knowledge Infrastructure for Institutional Development.”
Day 3 (July 11, 2019) started with the presentation “Towards Sustainable Islamic Banking System in the Philippines: A Survey of its Prospects and Challenges” by Ms. Aradelria T. Belleng, Project Management Officer of Anak Mindanao Foundation, Inc.; followed by “The Philosophy of Islamic Economics: An Alternative Development Framework for Sulu Archipelago” presented by Dr. Hannbal Bara, MSU-Sulu Professor; “Pagsanda ha Aturan sin Shari’ah: Exploring Alternative to Riba-based Mortgage and Pawnbroking” by Mr. Kamaruddin Bin Alawi Mohammad, UP IIS University Researcher II; and “Zakat Implementation in Selected Areas” by Mr. Darwin J. Absari, UP IIS University Researcher II.
The next panel included the presentation of “Tausug Women Business Culture” given by Dr. Carmen A. Abubakar; followed by “Surveys of Economic Activities in Selected Muslim Communities: The Case of Bongao, Zamboanga City and General Santos City” presented by Prof. Magsaysay S. Werble, Prof. Isnira A. Baginda from MSU-General Santos City, and Asst. Prof. Mohammad Nur A. Kadil from Ateneo de Zamboanga University, respectively.
A synthesis of the RTD discussions was provided by Dr. Surma J. Werble, Director for Office of International Linkages, MSU-TCTO which closed the RTD panel discussions.
The different panels were alternately moderated by Ms. Aradelria T. Belleng, Mr. Kamaruddin Bin Alawi Mohammad, Prof. Isnira A. Baguinda and Mr. Darwin J. Absari.
The last afternoon session was a public forum entitled “Transition towards the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or a Proposed Federalized Bangsamoro State” anchored by Atty. Mehol K. Sadain, Prof. Julkipli M. Wadi, and Dr. Alzad T. Sattar as resource persons. The open forum was a lively discussion by the participants after which Dr. Muktar Mohammad Tahil, Dean of Islamic Studies Department, MSU-TCTO, delivered the closing remarks that signalled the end of the RTD program.
The last on the agenda was a Business Meeting where reports from network members on curriculum, research, and publication were given by the heads of units. Possible topic for the next RTD was also discussed but due to lack of time no final decision was made.
Dr. Ali P. Anshari, MSU-General Santos City Chancellor, has committed to host the next RTD, an offer that RAIS and UP IIS was very glad to accept.